The top of your desk is some of
the most valuable real estate in your office. How you arrange your
work tools here can make the difference in how productive you
concede that most of us have to be connected in some way to a phone
and computer. Beyond these, what do you need? We recommend these 4Ps
for an effective desktop.
1. Project manager
This often takes the form of an in-box. Think outside the
box here, beyond the traditional two-tray configuration. Perhaps a
tier of three would work better for you: one to do, one to read, one
to think about by Friday. What tray assignments make the most sense
If you have a credenza behind you
or a work table to the side of you, consider a row of trays or
baskets that you can label by project. Do you use a paper tickler
file? Many successful people do.
2. Pitch file
Better known as the
wastebasket. One of the best pieces of advice that some of the
top organization experts offer is to open your mail over a wastebasket. What doesn't
land in your project management system, or in a pass-along pile,
probably belongs in your pitch file. (Note: this does not include
3. Paper companion
The chances of the world
going completely paperless are about the same as forests reclaiming
New England. Even the members of our Internet team have some
concessions to papyrus on their desks. Make room for the paper you
need and you'll be pleased for it.
I sometimes like to write rather than key my words, and find an
inclined surface atop the middle of my desk the best spot to do it
(the laptop is directly behind me). Our merchandising director, one
of the most paperless people I know, has a paper notebook for
Our senior VP of marketing is the keeper
of 3x5 note cards. They become her to-do lists, which she refreshes
biweekly with what's been done and what's to come. As she points
out, it doesn't take a lot of filing to find them.
4. Personal pleasure
A beautiful object, a collectible or some other piece that's special to you will make your desk a pleasing environment and not just a workspace. Often it's a
photograph. Lori loves the idea of fresh flowers on her desk, and
you'll usually find an orchid in bloom.
If you derive satisfaction from your work, why not take pleasure from the place where you accomplish so much of it?
Just one more item to make your desktop functional: a good reading lamp. Now you're ready to light up the world with your